Tell us a bit about your background. What inspired you to found Daylesford Organic?
It was a life-changing moment shortly just after our daughter, Alice, was born and I was pushing her round the garden of our home, back then in Staffordshire. My interest in gardening had just begun and I was looking at the roses, and saw them wilting. When I returned to the house I asked the farmers what they were spraying in the fields and they said, ‘Roundup’. I thought, ‘Well, those roses don’t like it’, and I was worried the effects it might have on Alice.
A couple of weeks later, at an agricultural show, I became inspired by the emerging organic farming movement having spent a couple of hours talking to a man who was there promoting organic food and farming. I came away thinking we must look after our soil.
The hardest part was persuading my husband. He looked at me as if I was completely barmy, it would be expensive and would mean the crops being less productive. It took three years to begin farming organically but over 30 years later we are still going strong.
How would you describe what you do now?
Through my businesses I endeavour to support organic and sustainable living, so when asked what I do, I suppose I’m an advocate for organic lifestyle.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Being able to spread the organic message to as many people as possible but ensuring I don’t become an organic bore.
What are your health and nutrition non-negotiables?
For me it is all about eating in step with the seasons, using organic ingredients wherever possible and having a balanced diet. If we listen to our bodies, often it will tell us what we are missing – if you are craving spinach and red meat, maybe your need more iron in your diet, so have some.
Do you have any daily rituals or routines?
I would say my most daily ritual is taking my dogs for a walk. They always ensure I am up early in the morning and I love getting out into the fresh air before breakfast.
What do you do to stay active?
I either do half an hour of yoga with Vettri, a Pranayama yoga specialist, or I go to the gym. Then, of course, as I spend a lot of time in the countryside I go on many walks with my family and dogs.
What does sustainable, holistic living mean to you?
Making the right choices when it comes to eating and exercising. A strong and healthy body is never to be underestimated.
There is a beautiful emphasis on craftsmanship in Daylesford products, alongside your other artisanal endeavours under your own name. Why the emphasis on more traditionally crafted products?
I am a huge believer in supporting artisan craft and wanted to ensure that all of my businesses reflected this. I truly feel that the best creations are handmade with a personal touch.
There can be so much confusion about the meaning of ‘organic.’ Daylesford has the Soil Association seal, which is held in very high esteem. Should this be a requirement for people looking to eat organic? If not, what should people be looking out for specifically if they are trying to eat organic?
I think the seal of approval from the Soil Association is a very helpful guide when looking for certified organic produce. However, there are other certification bodies that you can also look out for. I understand it may not be possible for everyone to choose organic produce all the time and therefore perhaps suggest making small changes to your weekly shop, which could begin with selecting organic meat.
Gut health has been such a hot topic lately and the Feed Your Core range is a beautiful option for those wanting to up their pre/probiotics. Tell us a bit about Feed Your Core and why you chose to focus in on this aspect of health (over others like dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan etc.).
I have always believed that health and wellbeing stems from your gut. Therefore, it was important to me to be able to offer our customers a range of food that promoted a happy and healthy gut which led to the launch of the Feed Your Core products. Getting the right balance of bacteria in the gut is central to vitality and good health throughout the body, it will also help fight illness and even improve your mood.
I love your website. On top of everything else, what made you want to start this visually beautiful and informative platform?
We launched the Daylesford website to share our philosophy and spread the word about the benefits of an organic way of life to as many people as possible, and not just for those who are able to visit our farmshops and cafes.
On Saturday 21st May, Daylesford will be throwing open the gates to their Cotswolds farm in celebration of their annual Summer Festival. Festival goers can expect to enjoy a whole host of activities from sampling the many delicious food stalls, to farm tours, dog shows, beautiful blushed Rosé and Pimms, talks, demonstrations, live music, activities for kids and much more. The Summer Festival is free to attend it will certainly be a great day out in the countryside! More details can be found here.